So the Confederate Flag Should Come Down But Margaret Sanger Belongs on the $20 Bill?
The New York Times editorial board called for South Carolina to take down the Confederate flag because it's racist. They said:
State lawmakers who must vote on removing it need to do that now and show the nation they understand the pain this symbol of hate and brutality causes to this day.
So the reason for all the renewed controversy surrounding the flag is because the man charged with killing nine African-Americans in church was seen waving it in photographs. Ok. So any symbol with a strong relation to racism should not be celebrated by the government. Got it?
But last month the New York Times published an opinion piece that none other than Margaret Sanger should be on the $20 bill.
Margaret Sanger didn’t just introduce the idea of birth control into our culture at large, she freed women from indenture to their bodies. Through her activism, Sanger introduced and eventually normalized the discourse about women’s bodies and fertility so women could decide not only when, but if, they would have children. No longer were women’s bodies subject — politically, personally, or medically — to the whims of men. Sanger’s efforts to promote birth control were originally directed toward working class women who were disproportionately affected by a lack of access to reproductive healthcare. When, in 1921, she founded the American Birth Control League, Sanger expanded her efforts to include middle class women so more women would be empowered to control their fertility. This organizing lead to the creation of Planned Parenthood, which continues to serve women and men, offering preventive healthcare, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and reproductive counseling.
Sanger was not without her controversies but neither were any of the men who currently grace our currency. Placing Margaret Sanger on the $20 bill will remind us of what she has done for women and our reproductive health and how the fight for reproductive freedom is an ongoing one. We need this reminder now, more than ever.
Not without her controversies? Seriously? Margaret Sanger had more than a passing affiliation with racism. She embraced it. And not just the kind of racism where she locks the doors of her car when she passed through urban neighborhoods. No. The kind of racism that wants to empty all neighborhoods of black people.
In the April 1932 Birth Control Review, she wrote, "Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race." In the book, "Woman, Morality, and Birth Control" in 1922, she wrote, "We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."
In the Birth Control Review, Sanger wrote "The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda." Birth Control Review in 1921, that,
"Today eugenics is suggested by the most diverse minds as the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems. "I think you must agree ... that the campaign for birth control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical with the final aims of eugenics ... Birth control propaganda is thus the entering wedge for the eugenic educator.
"As an advocate of birth control I wish ... to point out that the unbalance between the birth rate of the 'unfit' and the 'fit,' admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feebleminded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation.
Is this really the person we want on the $20 bill?
So, I think, what the New York Times is really saying here, is that the Confederacy made the mistake of not supporting abortion. If only the 19th century South had supported racism AND ABORTION then the Times would be supportive of flying the Confederate flag everywhere.